You deserve a therapist who sees you and fully embraces you. Finding a supreme fit takes time for exploration and may be challenging for many. You are worth the effort. I’ve read a lot of blogs about how to find the right therapist.
Most take a practical approach.
* Professional discipline i.e. Clinical counseling, clinical psychology, clinical social work.- check
* Licensure Credentials-check.
* Insurance accepted-check.
* Experience working with others who have had your problem-check.
* Theoretical approach that seems to align with your beliefs & values-check.
* Preferred availability i.e. weekdays, weekends, etc-check.
All of these are super important! What’s talked about less often is the need to take a moment for reflection about how you feel when you’re talking to your prospective therapists upon the first encounter via email or phone and to what degree the therapist might be a supreme fit for your current needs- logistically, emotionally, and financially.
* How quickly after your first outreach were you able to connect with the psychotherapist?…
* Does the conversation flow?…
* Do you feel hopeful after the encounter?…
* Was the psychotherapist kind, courteous, & respectful towards you?…
* Did they take time to respond to your questions in full?…
* Do the quoted rates i.e. co-pays, etc. work for your budget?
Some psychotherapists take an initial administrative approach when you reach out to them. They are happy to get you scheduled right away. Maybe within the week. Others, like us at UP, offer a brief complimentary consultation first. We value you & your time & we want to ensure that we have a clear sense of what’s hurting your heart right now. If you’ve reached out and someone’s profile really resonates with you, it may be helpful to reach out to them via email and phone. You may want to follow-up if you have not heard back from them within 24 business hours.
For scheduling, be prepared to offer up your supreme availability. It increases the likelihood of snagging an appointment sooner than later. Do what you can to plan your flexibility. Once your appointment is scheduled, guarding your availability may involve partial or full disclosure to key stakeholders i.e. immediate supervisors, closest friends, and family members, etc. regarding your new standing therapy appointment.
Here are other introspective queries:
* Am I ready for the commitment of time that psychotherapy may require of me?…
* Am I ready for the emotional vulnerability that sometimes comes with psychotherapy?…
* Am I ready for the temporary financial investment of psychotherapy?…
* To any of the aforementioned, how would I know if I was ready?…
* What are my hopes & expectations of psychotherapy?… To be honest, I think it can take time to find a really dope therapist i.e. maybe 1-3 months depending on your search dedication. Consider that many therapists are seeing back-to-back clients during the workday. And if you’re returning to therapy after being away for a while, know that the landscape of mental health support may have evolved. I know that when you’re hurting, a process like the one described may seem arduous, perhaps insurmountable. Sometimes people feel that this is a lot more work than they bargained for, especially when they’re hurting and they’re just really in need of kind, supportive counseling. You get to decide what takes precedence-meeting with the first available person or doing the work on the front end to improve the likelihood of identifying a supreme fit. Sometimes it either takes several sessions with one therapist or several first meetings with several different therapists. I suggest that you pursue each scenario exclusively of one another for optimal results.
In my experience, openness & willingness to connect with your supreme fit therapist can be a kind of spiritual or existential experience. The waiting and uncertainty can be tough when you are already in a lot of emotional pain. In this case, you may consider working with a foster therapist on a brief consultative basis while also continuing in your search for a therapist to call home. Perhaps your foster therapist can support you in identifying a dope therapist as well. Some do opt to get support from other healers i.e. reiki practitioners, sound bath therapists, astrologers, priestesses, nature therapists, etc. They enlist those healers while waiting for the identification of a therapist or while on the waiting list for their top choice therapist.
Sometimes, supportive dyads or triads will reach out together to prospective psychotherapists. This system can help reduce the anxiety that can sometimes come with meeting a new psychotherapist. Sometimes families use this outreach technique as well. If you prefer a more secondary backstage support plan for finding your dope therapist, perhaps you can enlist an accountability partner. You can schedule progress check-ins with your partner so that hopefully you don’t feel as alone in the process. Sometimes you may have to invest in a paid assistant who, once they know what you’re looking for, can help you narrow down your search.
Psychology Today (hyperlink), an extensive online hub for psychotherapists and healers of various disciplines, & Therapyforblackgirls (hyperlink) a nationwide directory of female therapists of color, may be resources. Bark.com (hyperlink) is a potential resource that allows you to answer a few pertinent questions about your dream therapist. Think Match.com. You then receive emails of prospective psychotherapist matches that you can reach out to directly. The National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network is another resource for individuals who wish to work with a psychotherapist who specializes in providing kind and affirming counseling support to the LGBTIQA community. You may also want to check out some of our favorite therapists of color in the DMV as found here (hyperlink). Ask around too! You’d be surprised by who else knows of a good therapist.
Lastly, whoever you choose as your therapist, make sure they really wanna know you, make sure they really see you. Make sure they really feel you. You deserve that. If by chance, you are transitioning to a new therapist, I invite you to first be sure that you aren’t running from a growth opportunity with your current therapist. It may be helpful to practice transparency with your current therapist to make sure that you are on the record about how you are experiencing the work with them. You may want to allow 1-2 months to see how things go. And then if you are still feeling compelled to explore other options, you may want to let them know. This is a part of healthy transitions and long goodbyes. Remember that therapists are human too and many have been called to this work.
I promise that if you practice vulnerability and you are honest with your dope new therapist, you WILL feel better. And although therapy is not for everyone, I do believe it can be beneficial to anyone.
Whatever you do, don’t give up! You, mon cherie, deserve the world.Lear More